Another Anime Expo has come and gone. There were two parts to this convention - the convention itself, run by the SPJA; and the Traveling Valentine experience. The Traveling Valentine experience rocked. It seems that the 2007 convention season gets better. Tom and I had a very relaxing four year anniversary weekend. After all, we're on vacation, not a death march. Many of our friends say reaching our four year anniversary is something to be proud of, and that we are.

Tom and I enjoyed what was given to us. The ballroom dance could use improvements. It is hard to tell if otaku are "cultured" enough to appreciate a ballroom type atmosphere. It was something that we took notice at the ballroom dance. Certainly, while there were hundreds of attendees willing to learn ballroom steps, are they ready for a ballroom atmosphere? Many of our friends complained that it did not feel like a ballroom dance once "Umbrella" and "Thriller" were played. Many felt that the atmosphere was akin to a rave. Tom and I see the ballroom dance as something with great potential.

Tom noticed that the fault in the this year's ballroom dance lied partially in the rave-like decor and the ignorance of the casual anime otaku when attending an event that doesn't entirely involve anime. Any ballroom dancer worth his/her salt could find a ballroom dance in virtually all of the songs at the ball. A little knowledge and lessons go a long way. Most young otaku can't tell the difference between a ballroom dance from a kick in the balls.

While Fanime was, "OMG! FUN!," Anime Expo's tone was, "Yeah...we're having fun." Everyone has a different experience. Tom and I loved Long Beach for what it was. We enjoyed many of the sit down restaurants. We were satisfied to find parking that we can afford. Thankfully, we only stuck to the one costume per day rule. Multiple costume changes would have been horrid.

Otherwise, Tom and I had a relaxing vacation. We thank everyone who showed up to my birthday party, even if it was a simple, "Congrats" or "Happy Birthday." Your presence meant a lot to me.

And on to Anime Expo, as a con.

Of course, there were many events spread out. The doll gathering was in the Westin. No way we were going to hike to the Westin with the dolls! Dolls are already heavy enough. Add the walking, no way. We had to pick and choose what to do. The Dealers Room was satisfying as always, but we missed Tokyo Pop and Viz. ADV had great deals, but I missed out on it while Tom made off well as soon as he had the coupon and the cash. Oh well, I'm sure Borders will have a sweet deal in the future so I can nab my hands on Angelic Days. Lesson learned, see something, go get it!

Let's talk about Staff Pro. Tom and I felt that Staff Pro really did not know what was going on, especially regarding the Dealers Room. One lady said we could use the alternate exit because we are Press, but another lady said that everyone had to take the same exit. Which is it? On Friday, no one told us where the SKIN press conferance was. We were being told different things by Staff Pro. In one instance, we were told to go the roundabout way from the Long Beach Terrace Theatre around Pine Avenue back to the back entance to Artist Alley. That's a half a mile walk there! Yet, in other events, they let us use the lagoon side exit that took us back to the convention center in no time. Which is it, Staff Pro?

We'd also like to complain about global warming. I'm pretty sure the issue about the sun was brought up at con gripe. But Tom says, "It's pretty stupid for a con to take credit or blame for weather."

And onto the hot post-Anime Expo topic, Anime Expo in 2008. Will we be returning next year? Who knows. For now, we'll sleep on it. We got Sac Anime and SDCC to think about now. Yeah, some sleep and a trip to the spa should do us right.

I would also like to say, if I seemed "stand off"-ish to any of you at Anime Expo, I apologize. Anime Expo is a huge con with so many people. It's hard to keep track who is going where and when will be the next time we see a group of friends. And Tom is generally out of it during cons in terms of social interactions, friend or new encounter. In truth, there were friends we would have loved to hung out with more at Anime Expo, but the size and scope is too large to sporadically find people. Again, our apologies.

We do want Anime Expo to change for the better. We certainly hope it does.

Otherwise, it's been a pleasant weekend with Tom. Thank you for everything, you silly cat. Happy Anniversary!

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